Bella Marquetry



Bella Scharf in her basement shop with a few of her Judaic Designs
What is Marquetry
Most of the pieces on this website are original woodworked designs created by crafts designer Bella Scharf. They are made in an old-world technique called “MARQUETRY” - the craft of cutting shapes from domestic and exotic wood veneers and joining them together into patterns. All of the wood veneers in the items are in their original and natural pattern and color, just the way Mother Nature made the trees they come from. Absolutely no stain of any kind has been used, but many layers of a lacquer finish have been applied to each item to help it retain its beauty over time and become an heirloom. Be sure to see the variety of TOTALLY NATURAL veneers used in these creations at "Visual exploration of veneers".

Modern marquetry has its roots in Italy in the fifteenth century. Craftsmen created intricate pictures with woods to decorate the walls and furniture of churches. Over the centuries the craft developed as a means of decorating furniture for the home, especially during the time of the French court, and it was especially popular as a decorative technique during the Art Nouveau and Art Deco periods of the early to mid Twentieth Century.

About the artist
Bella Scharf learned the craft of Marquetry from her father, Israel Scharf, an old-world European craftsman who had mastered this technique in his family’s furniture-manufacturing plant in pre-WWII Poland. During the war, Mr. Scharf’s woodworking skills helped him survive as a prisoner in concentration and work camps. After the war he continued to practice this craft, creating decorations for houses of worship. His work can be seen in many synagogues in New York and Florida.

Bella observed her father plying this beautiful craft for years and decided to glean all the knowledge and expertise from him. A graduate of the art school Pratt Insitute in Brooklyn, NY, she worked as design director for a yarn company and published two crafts books—”Illustrated Patchwork Crochet” and “Butterick’s Fast & Easy Needlecrafts”. After a second 25-year career in Information Technology, she is now pursuing her first love — crafts - creating frames, clocks, and other home accessories in the technique of Marquetry.

Left: Bella Scharf in 1976 after the
publication of her first book:
"Illustrated Patchwork Crochet"

Right: Bella Scharf in 2008


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